Mystery Education Theater 3000

The Game Is On for The Fall Classic in 2014!

The filings are done for three of the West Contra Cost Unified School District Board of Education’s five seats. Even though Peter Chau and Madeline Kronenberg are on the ballot and closely associated with Charles Ramsey, he himself is not on the WCCUSD part of the ballot. Also, there is no construction bond measure, so we will have to wait another 2 years for another Prop. 39 bond measure.

Below is a list of the candidates as they will appear on the ballot. The ordering is determined by the Secretary of State’s alphabet for the election. Sadly, just reading this list is all a significant number of votes will be based on.

Business Owner/Educator
Attorney/Child Advocate
Elementary School Principal
High School Security Officer
Contra Costa County Law Clerk
Education Advocate
Parent/Nonprofit Executive
Attorney at Law
School Boardmember/Teacher

Initial Thoughts

From the list there are two main groups to break out for initial dismissal, the incumbents and the “stepping-stoners.” Interestingly, both of the incumbents don’t actually refer to themselves as incumbents. The stepping-stoners are people who are just on their way up to bigger things with the school board being a single-A baseball team to play on in terms of campaigning or governing before moving up to the politics majors. Naturally, they’re good at garnering endorsements from the local political class. I prefer people for this school board who are not in either of these groups:


  • Elaine Merriweather
  • Madeline Kronenberg


  • Mister Phillips
  • Peter Chau
  • Raquel Donoso

In future installments I’ll drill down deeper.

Categories: WCCUSD

WCCUSD Candidate Forum: Crescent Park » « WCCUSD: We are a scope driven program damn it!


  1. charley, will you be posting further thoughts on the candidates? Especialy the non-incumbent, non-stepping-stoners?

  2. WCCUSD School board and the District was well aware that schools were collapse hazards for many years. Pfiefer and Ramsey discussed how many kids would die in a Facilities Sub committee meeting in 2006.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Morgan Lewis, Counselors at Law, Letter and Complaint Portola Middle School, WCCUSD, January 29, 2008. 7 pages
    Excerpt from page 2: “…The seismic deficiency issues at Portola Middle School have been known to the district for a long period of time, including by virtue of the 2002 Structural Evaluation conducted by WLC Architects and DASSE Design, Inc. That seismic inspection conducted at the WCCUSD’s direction found that Portola Middle School faced severe seismic deficiencies, including risk of ‘building collapses, partial building collapses or life-safety hazards” and that the condition of the school’s facilities poses “serious life safety hazards” absent correction of the substantial seismic deficiencies identified. In August 2006, the WCCUSD Facilities Subcommittee discussed the earthquake danger at Portola Middle School and recognized the likelihood that children would die in the facilities under current conditions if an earthquake strikes. …”

  3. Do you know the SFER people and how they came to select the two candidates that they endorsed? It’s so hard to know enough about the candidates, Todd Groves sure fooled us good last election. Looking forward to your further posts.

    • Charley Cowens

      August 19, 2014 — 3:07 pm

      I’m sure they’re very nice individually and the candidates this particular SFER group selected may be the best, but the premise of the group kind of creeps me out. They arrive from nowhere (to me). They’re only here for the summer. They only care about the election. Then poof. It certainly calls for an article.

      Linda might be the best source for their process. She was there; I wasn’t. One thing I noted from her talking about the event before was the involvement of the Chamberlain Foundation.

    • I’ve been to three school board candidate forum/question type events so far, including the Students for Education Reform “SFER”. I attended 3 of 5 of their questions/interviews. I also contacted SFER directly and met with 5 of the members. They are students that attended various WCCUSD schools and want education to be better. I was very impressed with them. Here’s their website:
      My top two candidates are also Liz Block and Val Cuevas. They were consistent with their responses, both have background in education, seemed strong – like they would stand up for what is right — And they aren’t dangerously naive.
      Todd seems very nice, but also seems dangerously naive. I know people tried to warn him about some of the going-ons and he still doesn’t seem to see it. I tried to tell him how the school board/district knowingly left students (& staff) in seismically dangerous schools and he didn’t seem to care — even though his kid attended one of these death traps.

      • Charley Cowens

        August 19, 2014 — 5:42 pm

        Linda, was there a filled-out questionnaire prior to the interviews..

        • Yes and no. I think the Blackboard group had questionnaires filled out, but they didn’t make them public. The SFER group asked the same questions from each candidate with a few extra questions submitted by attendees. The Hercules Democratic Club asked each candidate the same questions and one member (me) was allowed one question–they ran out of time.

  4. Please give me a chance Charley. I really want to help our students. I have one child and another on the way. This is important to me.

  5. I agree, “now is the time to be out with the old, and in with competent new people”. We need people who know about and have been involved in the educational process. People that can listen and represent the students, parents and community, “not represent a list of other politicians that are seeking to maintain the status quo, and money hunger interest groups that feed of the monies that should go to educating our students”.

    The students lives and future are at stake, not the upward mobile politicians; or cartel interest groups and the incumbent board members who have shown their worth. Move forward and vote for those that challenge the status quo of politics.

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